Victorian

Early Victorian Layers, part 1

Early Victorian Layers, part 1

Studying the undergarments of a transitional period in which styles shifted slowly but dramatically.

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Analyzing the Construction of Three Victorian Evening Bodices by Sunny Buchler

Analyzing the Construction of Three Victorian Evening Bodices by Sunny Buchler

I've often been frustrated that there are wonderful Victorian patterns available (published in the period or drafted from extant dresses) but there is very little information on how to put the pieces together or on the other finishing details that go into making historical dress.

Here I'll address this gap by doing a photographic analysis of the construction techniques used in three Victorian evening bodices in my personal collection.

Due to the Single Pattern Project, I'm most interested in the elliptical style. Two of the bodices were either worn with elliptical skirts or with the early bustle style, the third was probably worn with the earlier circular hoop style.

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Analyzing the Construction of Three Victorian Skirts, by Sunny Buchler

Analyzing the Construction of Three Victorian Skirts, by Sunny Buchler

I've often been frustrated that there are wonderful Victorian patterns available, but there is very little information on how to put the pieces together or the other finishing details that go into making a dress.

My goal with this article is to address this gap by doing a photographic analysis of the construction techniques used in three Victorian skirts in my personal collection. Due to the Single Pattern Project, I'm most interested in elliptical skirts, but I only have one in my collection. Therefore, I've chosen a skirt from the preceding Hoop era, and one from the following Early Bustle era to compare to the elliptical skirt.

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The Debate Over Women’s Clothing in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, and the Rational Dress Movement by Ginger Breo

The Debate Over Women’s Clothing in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, and the Rational Dress Movement by Ginger Breo

Most in the reenacting and historical costuming communities spend countless hours and large amounts of money researching and executing the perfectly period-appropriate hourglass corset or bustle. We feel elegant and oh-so-Victorian with our suddenly-tiny waists and perfect posture.

It may be hard,then, for we, as modern women who don a corset for a few events a year, to understand the many difficulties presented by wearing these garments every day, and why there was a movement right at the start of the Victorian era to do away with them altogether.

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Analyzing the Construction of Four Victorian Day Bodices by Sunny Buchler

Analyzing the Construction of Four Victorian Day Bodices by Sunny Buchler

While there are wonderful Victorian dress patterns available, either published in the period or drafted from extant dresses,  there is very little information around on how to put the pieces together in a historically accurate way or complete the other finishing details that go into making a dress of this style.

If you're going to go for accuracy with your Single Pattern Project, Sunny Buchler redresses the balance for you this month with her photographic analysis and comparison of the construction techniques used in four 1860s bodices in her personal collection.

Nine pages and over a hundred large and detailed clickable images in this article alone will give you every minute detail you could ever want to know about constructing your bodice!

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Quick Victorian Petticoat

Quick Victorian Petticoat

To ensure your Victorian dress is always smooth and perfect, you really need a petticoat. Here's the fastest way to rustle one up.

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Mid-Victorian Underpinnings

Mid-Victorian Underpinnings

Sunny walks you through every single item that a mid-Victorian lady might have worn under her gown, with references to appropriate patterns from all sources.

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Celestia's Homemade Dress

Celestia's Homemade Dress

We're not the only ones who curse over our sewing. In the early 1870s, Celestia Freeman made herself a dress - and she struggled too!

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1876 February Dress

1876 February Dress

Izabela describes the construction of a dramatic February 1876 ensemble - from original Victorian fashion plate to final trims and accessories. 

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1875 Wedding Dress (2)

1875 Wedding Dress (2)

I have the honor to own my great-grandmother’s 1875 wedding dress. The more I look closely at this heirloom, the more fascinating it is!

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Seaside Jacket, 1873 (part 2)

Seaside Jacket, 1873 (part 2)

 How to true up the pattern, fit the jacket, draft the sleeves and construct the jacket, plus some key lessons - and a classic mistake to look out for!

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Seaside Jacket, 1873

Seaside Jacket, 1873

How to overcome the challenges of using original magazine patterns (in this case, from Peterson's), and pattern this interesting jacket.

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Fashion 1868-9

Fashion 1868-9

Marion traces the beginnings of the second bustle era by reviewing fashion illustrations of 1868-1869 from Peterson's, Arthur's and Godey's magazines.

If that isn't enough, also included are all patterns published by Peterson's in 1869!

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Fashion 1868-1875

Fashion 1868-1875

1868-1875 is commonly known as "The First Bustle" period, but in fact it was one of several bustle periods in the 19th century, and it certainly wasn't the first!

This month we start a fashion review series, looking at the looping, shirring, pleating and draping methods that we now call a "bustle".

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Butterfly Bustle Drape

Butterfly Bustle Drape

Folding and draping the fabric of a Victorian bustle was an art form. Let me show you how to create a simple "Butterfly" bustle drape.

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How To Make A Simple Bustle

How To Make A Simple Bustle

A small boned cage bustle - not totally historically accurate but it's an easy-to-wear support with a lovely period silhouette.

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Excerpt from "What to wear?" (1873)

Excerpt from "What to wear?" (1873)

Mrs. Phelps did not lack for distaste for fashionable styles, considering them utterly impratical and accusing them of hindering women in their advancement towards equality with men.

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The Point Princess Dress - 1882

The Point Princess Dress - 1882

Life often brings unexpected treasures. Kat studies an extant dress pattern from 1882 and looks at how this Natural Form Era gown fits a modern, uncorseted body.

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Making a Balayeuse

Making a Balayeuse

You can easily picture your spectacular new gown trailing behind you as you make a grand entrance... but what about the dirt?

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1876-8 Dress: Polonaise

1876-8 Dress: Polonaise

A wonderful example of fashionable US Victorian day dress, composed of polonaise and trained skirt. Part 2 features the complete pattern.

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